What is 'athflow', the fashion trend that gets you off the sofa?

  • Style
  • Wednesday, 27 Apr 2022

As the world opens up, it’s time to dress up and show off again in relaxed all-day combinations. Photo: dpa

Many of us have grown so used to the comforts of sweatpants and couch-friendly clothes during the pandemic that fashion brands are even starting to adapt their designs to look fancy but feel just as comfy.

It’s time to go with the “athflow.”

What could be more comfortable than some pyjamas? Or our beloved sweatpants? Nothing, that’s what. And that’s why we’re now allowed to wear them in our day-to-day lives, even at the office or for going out. Because the “athflow” trend means comfy sportswear and loungewear is now chic.

You’ll see more and more sweat dresses in fashion collections this year. Photo: dpaYou’ll see more and more sweat dresses in fashion collections this year. Photo: dpaWe no longer want to do without the comfort we have become accustomed to spending time at home, be it working or staying in. But with the decline in Covid infection rates and the resulting regained freedoms, we now have the opportunity to “dress up again and show off”, as the German Fashion Institute (DMI) writes in its trend report for the new season.

Putting these requirements together results in relaxed all-day combos, which the DMI calls “daytime to dinner”. In other words, outfits that can be worn in your day-to-day life, especially at home, but also eating out or going for drinks.

The stylish uncle of athleisure

That’s why, for some time now, this cosy and sporty look, which looks as if you’ve just been to the gym, has been “shifting towards the elegant,” as fashion consultant Andreas Rose describes it.

The 100% sports looks, which reached their peak before Covid under the name “athleisure”, and the subsequent loungewear many people wore during the pandemic evolved into “athflow”. It’s “kind of the stylish uncle of athleisure”, says Rose.

We still have the comfort from the past two trends: “wide, loose, comfortable, soft,” says Rose. But the looks are just that little more chic.

Right now, sweatwear is evolving – especially sweatpants and the way we combine them.

They often no longer look like sweatpants, but can also look like more formal suit trousers.

Loosely cut tracksuit bottoms, often with side stripes, have also long since moved in this direction.

Not without my hoodie

Sweatshirt dresses, a kind of evolution of the tracksuit, have become commonplace in the spring and summer collections. Oversized hoodies and sweatshirts can also be worn as dresses, while short Bermuda-style sets and sweatpants and short-sleeved hoodies in fresh summer colours are also popular.

Sweatshirts are undergoing the biggest transformation right now: In the fashion line from Second Female, for example, there’s now an upgrade with subtle puff sleeves with cut-out details.

These pieces are far too good for just the couch! Combined with joggers in fresh pastel shades or light brown camel, a top like this is no longer out of the ordinary, even as part of a suit combo.

Bogner achieves a similar effect with light batwing sleeves on a short sweat top or by using leather for a summery short set.

10Days does the same with a pair of sweatpants, but with vegan leather.

Brunello Cucinelli has taken a men’s sweatshirt to another level: It’s been given a polo shirt collar, to be worn with jogger-style Bermuda shorts.

Same look, different elements

But it doesn’t always have to be joggers or tracksuit bottoms, other trouser styles are also comfy – and a touch more stylish to boot. According to the German Fashion Institute, paperbag trousers are currently a big thing in women’s fashion.

The pants have a cinched waist that scrunches up at the top, making them look like a paper bag.

Jeans with extra wide legs are also great for the “athflow” look.

This sweatshirt has a polo shirt collar and is paired it with short jogging-style Bermudas. Photo: dpaThis sweatshirt has a polo shirt collar and is paired it with short jogging-style Bermudas. Photo: dpaThe style is complemented by rib-knitted pieces, such as cardigans, jumpers and skirts.

For Rose, turtlenecks, smart knitted jumpers, jackets and dresses and baggy trousers also complement the look.

Add a touch of elegance: some fashion labels are have begun combining sweats blazers, and even pumps.

The label GIVN Berlin creates a conservative yet casual look with a long white blouse under a brown set of sweats.

Bathrobe-look coats

Occasionally you’ll find pieces that are reminiscent of pyjamas and bathrobes, but that are definitely not made for the bedroom or bathroom. Baum und Pferdgarten, for example, has a long, white coat (with detachable sleeves for warm weather).

There is also a blouse and trousers in apple green that look a bit like a sleepwear set when worn together – but individually they are cheerfully light pieces for sunny days.

Some are calling it “comfy wear”, which means it can be worn on the sofa at home, or out and about.

Even classic loungewear now seems so commonplace after the pandemic that people are thinking about wearing sweatpants and the like in everyday life as well – out on the town.

Read more: Women's fashion takes a walk on the wild side with fun and riotous designs

An example of this is Plan Shop’s pyjama combination, which consists of a crop top and an open kimono worn with wide trousers: quite the casual baggy look.

There’s only one item of clothing that shouldn’t see the light of day: your favourite binge watching trousers – i.e. the trousers you wear when curling up the couch.

The experts from the German Fashion Institute give this a clear “no” to this in their “11 Theses for 2022”.

On the other hand, the experts also say “a clear yes to smart jogging trousers”. (For fans: the yes also applies to smart leggings). – dpa

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fashion , trends , athleisure


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